- Clint Dempsey was solid through out the entire tourney, but showed how dangerous he can be when given the smallest of chances. The first goal of the game was really a simple redirect of a long distance shot from Spector, but Deuce demonstrated what makes him dangerous, he fought to get himself in a dangerous position and capitalized. The same thing he did scoring the US' second goal against Spain when he was opportunistic when Ramos botched a clearance and was able to guide in the ball for the sealing goal. While I am not ready to proclaim Dempsey as some one that might become one of the world's best, he is and will continue to develop in a solid international player.
- Fabiano....speaking of being in the right place at the right time as well as being lucky...the Sevilla striker showed his class the entire tournament but more specifically the second half of the finals. The first goal he scored he showed his ability but getting position on DeMerit and execting a deadly turn and volley, easier said than done, but he should have never been allowed to establish that position. The second goal was the true sign of a "fox in the box" type striker, after a missed shot by Kaka, the Brazilian #9 was prowling the box to latch onto the rebound to head home his second. His stock in Europe just went up...wonder if SAF will sniff around since he is flush with cash!
- Another American player that should leave head high is Tim Howard. As I stated in a previous post, only way the US had a chance was for their keeper to have an A+ game. While giving up 3 goals might not warrant such a grade I will at least give him an A-. He can hardly be blamed for any of the three goals, the last one especially when Lucio was inexplicably allowed to attack the corner kick, watching the replay there was not a single US defender there to attempt to defend him! Were the Americans being coached by the Domenech method of defending set pieces??? Ugh.
- Ok I know I like to picking on this player....but LandyCakes I am going to call bad...why? Yes I realize he scored. But what happened to him in the second half???? If he is suppose to be a world class player, if he is suppose to be the face of US soccer, if he suppose to be the American star.....then he needs to step it up when it most counts! His goal was very nice, granted, a great example of how to play counter attacking footie. But what happened when the team came back from the locker rooms? He all but disappeared. Granted the US was a bit back on their heels after the quick strike, but that is exactly when your stars are suppose to step up. I do not recall seeing Donovan back tracking to collect the ball, calling for long clearances or pressuring Brazil in their half. I never felt he was dangerous after scoring the second goal.
- Bradley taking off Altidore. I realize that the youngster had been taken off around the 60 minute mark in prior matches, but this is the finals. At the time the Brazilians had just drawn level, so you need to keep your offensive threat out there! Altidore is the only American striker with the size, pace and skill to truly threaten a defense on the break. Maybe Landycakes should have been the one substituted for!
- US defending set pieces....ugh, for a while I thought I was watching Arsenal or a Domenech led team. How can you allow an opposing player get a free run at a corner kick, especially in the last 5 minutes of the game???? Inexcusable.
- Brazil's start. It was clear that the Samba Boys thought the very sight of their yellow kit would give them the victory. Unlike Spain, they were able to overcome this poor approach.
- Bradley, okay this might be harsh, but I think the substitutions were poor....see Altidore... I think the intensity coming out of the locker room was terrible. The US started the game strong showing no fear, but seemed to come out for the second half...with a 2-0 lead and did not look ready, did not look prepared for what they knew would be a Brazilian attack. The most important times are the first and last 5 minutes of a half, Bradley needed to ensure his team came out with the same level of intensity as it had left the field! The one thing that the US could not afford to allow happen...they did, an early goal in the second half. Yes the players shoulder some responsibility but that is up to the coach to remind each player upon leaving the warmth of the changing room.
- The commentating on ESPN...ugh no surprise, but listening to the pundits talk about how US soccer is no longer the laughing stock of the world and how great this was made me sick...not sure what these talking heads have been watching but clearly international soccer is very different than it once was. While the big nations still dominate the collecting of silverware, clearly the smaller or less footie savvy nations are no longer the push overs they once were. Ask Argentina that lost to Ecuador, or I recall the defending WC champs, France barely beating Andorra in 1999 qualifiers for the Euros, or Greece winning the Euros 5 years ago, and the list goes on. The International footie scene is one where minnows can sometimes eat a shark. So let us not try to make a story out of an old complaint about American soccer not getting any respect. Players like Dempsey and Howard play in the Premiership, and outside of Landycakes, most of the team has aspirations to play overseas. Least we forget, this is the same hype machine that proclaimed Freddie Adu was going to be greater than Pele...btw did he get any minutes?